NBC’s Chuck Todd pressed Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R) to accept vaccine mandates as “pro-life” actions, while simultaneously suggesting that access to abortion should be protected as an individual liberty.
Reeves made an appearance Sunday on “Meet the Press,” joining Todd for a discussion on the emergence of a new coronavirus variant and Mississippi’s vaccination rate as well as the 15-week abortion ban that will face the scrutiny of the Supreme Court in the coming weeks.
Todd began by asking Reeves whether he felt the Mississippi law — which bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy — could be enacted without overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, asking also whether Reeves believed Roe had been wrongly decided.
Reeves said that in addition to believing that the 1973 decision was wrong, he also believed that there was nothing limiting individual states from imposing their own restrictions. “I believe very strongly that if you read the Constitution there is nowhere in the Constitution that prohibits individual states, states like Mississippi to limit access to abortions,” he said.
Reeves also pointed out that even if the 15-week ban was allowed to stand, Mississippi’s law would still be less restrictive than the abortion laws in 37 of 42 European countries, adding, “When you look at, for instance, abortion laws in California and New York, they are much more similar to those abortion laws in China and North Korea than they are to Europe or many other countries around the world.”
Todd then attempted to use Reeves’ own comments about his opposition to vaccine mandates to argue that a vaccine mandate was actually a “pro-life” position.
“This is a power grab by the federal government. We’ve seen this time and time again by the Biden administration, and now we’re seeing their strong desire to trying to make decisions on behalf of individual Americans. We believe in freedom and individual liberty,” Reeves said of the vaccine mandates.
“‘Freedom and individual liberty,'” Todd repeated. “Why should the state of Mississippi tell a woman what they should do with their body? Why shouldn’t they have that individual freedom on their body, particularly in the first 20 weeks?”
“Well, this is a prime example, and the far left loves to scream, ‘My body, my choice.’ What I would submit to you, choice, is they absolutely ignore the fact that in getting an abortion there is an actual killing of an innocent unborn child that is in that womb,” Reeves replied. “Here is what we know about babies that are 15 weeks. We know that they have a heartbeat. We know that those babies at 15 weeks actually can open and close their hands. We know that they have developing lungs, and we know that those babies at 15 weeks can feel pain, and so when you talk – the difference between vaccine mandates and abortions is vaccines allow you to protect yourself. Abortions actually go in and kill other American babies. Let’s just put this in perspective –”
Chuck Todd didn’t exactly push back as Tate Reeves recited right-wing talking points to defend Mississippi’s abortion ban pic.twitter.com/s7Nc05ooKZ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 28, 2021
“Governor, hang on a minute. A vaccine is about protecting a larger community, about preventing spread. You could argue a vaccine mandate is a pro-life position,” Todd interrupted.
Reeves agreed that one could make that argument, but he went on to argue that despite the fact that most agree vaccines are effective at preventing severe disease and death, vaccinated people were still spreading COVID-19.
“Conversely, when you’re talking about the pro-life position of protecting unborn babies, let’s put it in perspective,” Reeves said, turning back to abortion. “The fact is, during this very horrible and challenging time since I was sworn into office in January of 2020, Chuck, we’ve had 800,000 American lives lost because of COVID. My heart aches for every single one of those individuals that has died because of COVID. Over 10,000 Mississippians. My heartbreaks for every one of them. Since Roe, 62 million babies have been aborted and, therefore, killed. That’s why I think it’s very important that people like myself stand up for those unborn children because they don’t have the ability to stand up for themselves.